Advent begins tomorrow. Every year, I talk about Advent as a season of waiting. This year, all of us understand Advent better than ever. We have been in a time of waiting since March. Waiting for this pandemic to be done so that we can get back to our normal lives.
But then, over these months of waiting, many of us have begun to realize that we don’t actually want to go back to the way things were. This time of waiting has helped us realize that the society we lived in was more broken than we realized.
This time of waiting has demanded we give up so many things we had previously said were crucial to our lives. It has helped us see what is truly important in our lives. It has helped us embrace new ways to do things that are life-giving.
And so, in this time of pandemic-waiting, we realize that some things we imagined were central to our lives are not so much…we realize that there is more woundedness and brokenness than we knew…we realize that we don’t want to go back to the way things were–but rather, we want to take what we’ve learned during this pandemic waiting and come out on the other side changed for the better. We want to keep using the new tools we’ve learned. We want to use our new vision to continue confronting the brokenness in our world. We want to come out the other side of this waiting changed for the better.
Studies show that there are four things that work to deepen our faith:
1) Personal Bible Study
2) Individual Prayer and Meditation
3) A meaningful relationship with a faith-full friend or mentor
4) Regularly serving others
Advent is a wonderful time to focus on one or more of these practices, and St. Luke’s has simple tools to help you invest in these practices.
For Personal Bible Study, you could join our Tuesday Evening Bible Study Zoom, or take some time each day to read and reflect on the readings and prompts on the Quiet. It’s Advent. calendar.
For Individual Prayer and Meditation, you could join in the #AdventWord series where we are invited to meditate on a different word each day and how it relates to our spiritual life and growth. We’ll be sharing it on our Facebook page daily, and gave you a link for more information in our most recent mailing.
For a meaningful relationship with a faith-full friend or mentor, consider inviting someone important to you to connect with weekly phone calls which include discussions of your Advent practices. If someone doesn’t immediately come to mind, review our photo director to be reminded of the potential friends and mentors at St. Luke’s.
For regularly serving others, you can get started by being a part of our Share Your Christmas and Alternative Gifts Fair this season to help a local family or an agency doing good work. From there, you might consider volunteering with one of these agencies, or start to help with the monthly El Buen Pastor food distribution on the first Saturdays of each month, or even simply committing to or continuing the practice of calling a few people each week to connect with them as they continue sheltering at home. Listening to another can be a profound act of service, and one we should not take lightly as physical distancing drags on into 2021.
We have been living a time of waiting since March because of the pandemic. I invite you to use Advent’s time of waiting to increase a spiritual practice which will deepen your faith and prepare you to be part of a better world on the other side of our waiting.